His text was simple. Short. Open to any topic. And I believe it was sincere. But still I sat there, unsure of how to respond to this:

Hey man how’s it going?

I hadn’t heard from John in a few weeks; the silence had been nice. Honestly. I was still fresh off the haunting of John’s twin, but I’d been working through that to the point where I no longer wanted to hurl myself off a cliff upon seeing his face. Then the text came in.

I stared at my phone, the words from his text seeming to float off the screen and burning themselves into my mind. Just a few short words. Five to be exact. And a question mark. A looming question on my screen, waiting to be answered.

I pondered the many options I had. I could respond right away and give the most vague and noncommittal answer possible. I could wait to type a decent reply once I had a moment to breathe at work. I could drop everything and type him a novel of details about my life.

I even considered telling him the truth.

I thought about telling him how I ache at the thought of him sometimes. I thought about telling him about how I’ve all but blocked him on social media. I thought about telling him I am even on the verge of blocking his phone number. I thought about sending him a link to this blog and telling him about being haunted by his “twin.”

Instead, I just sat there and looked at the text. I had no idea how to respond — what to say, what not to say. I processed all the outcomes and knew that, ultimately, nothing would change by anything I could do.

So, my breaking point with my best friend was this: I did nothing.

And I thought I was okay with that. But then a week later, I received another text from him:

Hey, man, I could use some prayer. Please.

John was asking for prayer. He was struggling with some personal issues. And he wanted to share them with me. He was reaching out for help.

I ignored him.

That’s right — I was so angry at him, so hurt by him, I decided to refuse to help a friend, a brother in Christ. I hit ignore and tried to shove him out of my mind.

You might be judging me right now — and you should. I did something terrible. Awful. Cruel. And it was at this point that I realized I might be doing something wrong.

I began praying through my feelings about John. I even prayed for him. I looked back at his text a few times to refresh my memory on what was going on in his life. And for the next ten days, I prayed for him each day.

Then, late last night, I did the unthinkable. I texted him. I texted John:

Hey, John. So here’s the deal. I wasn’t willing to let our friendship change. I couldn’t accept being friends living hours apart when we used to live right next to each other. This led me to have expectations that were unrealistic and, to be honest, unhealthy. This then led me to being hurt easily and repeatedly by my own hand. This hurt would turn to anger — anger at you and anger at myself. This anger would steam for a bit, then cool off. Over time, though, it took longer for the anger to cool after each time. The problem was that I never changed my expectations. Finally, I lost it and cut you out. Unfortunately, the only way to realize I was the main problem was to get by myself and realize the problem was still there. Please forgive me for all of this.

I had no idea what to expect or when to expect it.

But right away, he responded. His first words?

So good to hear from you!

That’s right. His initial response was happiness of hearing from me.

He and I texted a little, setting up a time to talk on the phone about this. All of this: the expectations, the shunning, the everything. And this time, I am not going to hold anything back.

See you on the other side . . .

Have you ever reached a breaking point with a best friend? How did you react to this breaking point? Did you fight or retreat?

* Photo courtesy txmx-2, Creative Commons.

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    13 Comments
    • Reply Karl Jacob

      9 February 2016, 8:53 am

      So exciting, but so scary at the same time. I definitely know that feeling! I remember at one point I was so stressed out last semester between being busy with school and sports and the constant pressure of keeping a secret that I just snapped. I’m normally a pretty reasonable person but I started being…not so reasonable and started isolating myself. Fortunately that didn’t last very long. But still, it was a lesson to me that I need to watch out for my emotions when I’m stressed and to share my struggles with my friends instead of isolating myself from them.

    • Reply naturgesetz

      9 February 2016, 12:22 pm

      Looking forward to the rest of the story, but I’m glad you finally had the grace to pray and then to respond.

    • Reply Marshall R

      12 February 2016, 11:52 am

      When I reached a breaking point with my best friend HE was the one angry at me, not the opposite. I retreated out of consideration for him. I knew he would run and never come back if I tried to maintain a friendship. When he calmed down I went to him and apologized because I was clearly in the wrong. He forgave me and we slowly rebuilt our friendship but the process was very painful.

    • Reply Matt 'Ashįįhí

      13 February 2016, 2:41 pm

      Bro! I’ve been there before. I think most of us have been in your situation before! But for me, as time went on, I learned how to deal with this type of situation, and just be upfront asap! Even if you look like a jerk, or feel like jerk, confronting someone in a neutral base area has its qualities. Dude, don’t keep stuff bottled up forever, if you need to talk to someone about missing them, or being angry with them, or whatever, it needs to be done! Hope everything pans out after this.

    • Reply Stephen Long

      14 February 2016, 10:14 am

      I’ve experienced this many times – especially before I came out to myself and others. Before admitting to myself fully that I am gay, there was a perpetual subterranean yearning, romance, and eroticism that crept into every close male frienship. I simply couldn’t handle it, and I would fall apart. Just about every male friendship I had before coming out fell apart in some way.
      After admitting I’m gay, it became easier. I can now have intimate male friendships with other guys without it being torture.
      Thank you for this heartfelt piece.
      Stephen
      Sbradfordlong.com

      • Reply Dean Samuels

        15 February 2016, 9:31 am

        I’m glad you’ve been able to gain those intimate friendships without torture, Stephen! It is such a blessing to move past that- I pray you continue to grow in those. Thank you for reading! I’m honored my story was able to bless you.

        • Reply Stephen Long

          15 February 2016, 11:23 am

          And thank you for sharing vulnerabilities. I’ve only recently discovered this blog and I appreciate its honestly and how very well made it is. I look forward to reading more.
          Stephen
          sbradfordlong.com

    • Reply Bryon

      29 July 2016, 3:14 am

      Sigh. I thought I was the only one with experiences like this. I expected a lot more than what any friend could give. I wanted a soulmate, someone like a spouse, but in a male friend. I guess a bromance. That just wasn’t going to happen with any of my male friends. I was hurt and disappointed, and had the same confession you gave with a handful of male friends over the years. Their response was not like your friend’s. Not even close. I’ll let you imagine how it went since anything other than positive is easily understood. I stopped wanting much from people, really at all. I became cynical and kept people at a distance for over a decade. That didn’t go well either. I have much more realistic expectations of others now and I let people come and go in my space. I am happier with who I am and enjoy my own company. That makes solitude no longer lonely. I think what I really wanted was to never be alone, without being married. Thanks for sharing this because I feel much more validated after reading it.

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